The Last Days | Page 1 of 138

Author: Scott Westerfeld | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 9054 Views | Add a Review

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The Last Days

(The second book in the Peeps

series)

Scott Westerfeld

To Jazza

first reader and best friend

PART I

INFLUENCES

Ever hear this charming little rhyme?

Ring-around-the-rosy.

A pocket full of posies.

Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.

Some people say that this poem is about the Black Death, the fourteenth-century plague that killed 100 million people. Here’s the theory: “Ring-around-the-rosy” was an early symptom of plague: a circular rash of red skin. In medieval times, people carried flowers, like posies, with them for protection against disease. The words “ashes to ashes” appear in the funeral mass, and sometimes plague victims’ houses were burned.

And “we all fall down”?

Well, you can figure that one out for yourself.

Sadly, though, most experts think this is nonsense. A red rash isn’t really a plague symptom, they say, and “ashes” was originally some other word.

Most important, the rhyme is too new. It didn’t appear in print until 1881.

Trust me, though: it’s about the plague. The words have changed a little from the original, but so have any words carried on the lips of children for seven hundred years. It’s a little reminder that the Black Death will come again.

How can I be so sure about this rhyme, when all the experts disagree?

Because I ate the kid who made it up.

NIGHT MAYOR TAPES:

102–130

1. THE FALL

— MOZ-

I think New York was leaking.

It was past midnight and still a hundred degrees. Some kind of city sweat was oozing up through the sidewalk cracks, shimmering with oily rainbows in the streetlights. The garbage piled up outside the restaurants on Indian Row was seeping, leftover curry turning into slurry. The glistening plastic bags would smell jaw-droppingly foul the next morning, but as I walked past that night, they still gave off the perfumes of saffron and freshly thrown-out rice.

The people were sweating too—shiny-faced and frizzy-haired, like everyone had just stepped out of a shower. Eyes were glassy, and cell phones dangled limply on wrist straps, softly glowing, spitting occasional fragments of bubblegum songs.

I was on my way home from practicing with Zahler. It was way too hot to write anything new, so we’d riffed, plowing through the same four chords a thousand times. After an hour the riff had faded from my ears, like it does when you say the same word over and over till it turns meaningless. Finally, all I could hear was the squeak of Zahler’s sweaty fingers on his strings and his amp hissing like a steam-pipe, another music squeezing up through ours.

We pretended we were a band warming up onstage, slowly revving the crowd into a frenzy before the lead singer jumps

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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